The city of Venice flooding- hit by another ferocious high tide
December 9, 2019
Europe

Venice flooding- hit by another ferocious high tide

VENICE – Just days after the lagoon city suffered the worst flood in over 50 years, Venice faced exceptionally high water levels on Friday.

The St. Mark’s Square was submerged and closed off to tourists, while shops and hotels faced rising waters bringing fresh misery to the fragile city. Local authorities said the high tide peaked at 154 cm (5.05 ft), slightly below expected and lower than the 187 cm level that it reached on Tuesday, which was the second-highest tide ever recorded in Venice.

However, this was still enough to leave 70% of the city underwater, much to the irritation of locals who faced yet another large-scale clean-up operation. “We have been in this emergency for days and we just can’t put up with any more,” said Venetian resident Nava Naccara.

The Italian government declared a state of emergency for Venice on Thursday and allocated 20 million euros ($22 million) to address immediate damage. Sirens wailed across the city from the early morning hours, warning of the impending high tide, and the crypt beneath Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica was swiftly inundated.

The mayor has rightly pointed fingers at climate change for the ever-increasing flood waters that the city has had to deal with in recent years, with the mean sea level estimated to be over 20 cm than it was a century ago, and this figure is set to rise much further.

Volunteer and student groups arrived in the city centre to help businesses mop up, while schools remained closed.

A flood barrier has been designed to protect Venice from high tides. However, this is not expected to start working until the end of 2021, with the project plagued with the sort of problems that have come to characterise major Italian infrastructure programmes- corruption, cost overruns and prolonged delays.

(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.

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